Best Small Business Loans for Women

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Women are increasingly turning to entrepreneurship. In 2021, 49% of new businesses were started by women. 

Women business owners frequently have difficulties securing funding to bring their ideas to fruition. But there are several small business loans available. We identified the best small business loans for women based on their loan terms, rates, and eligibility requirements. 

Best Small Business Loans for Women in 2023

It’s illegal to make lending decisions based on certain prohibited discriminatory factors, including sex, so there are no loans restricted to or favorable toward women. For a broader selection of options, see our picks for the best small business loans or the best personal loans.

Best for SBA Loans : Funding Circle SBA Loan

Funding Circle

 Funding Circle

  • APR: 7.50%
  • Loan Amounts: $50,000–$500,000
  • Loan Terms: Up to 10 years
Pros & Cons
  • Low credit score minimum

  • Low interest rates

  • Long repayment terms available

  • Only available for established businesses

  • High revenue minimums

  • May require collateral

Why We Chose It

Business loan lenders typically require good to excellent personal credit, so it’s usually helpful to have a credit score of 670 or higher to qualify for a loan. But with Funding Circle’s Small Business Administration (SBA) loans, you can qualify for a loan with a score as low as 630. 

Through Funding Circle, you can borrow up to $500,000, and you can have up to 10 years to repay the loan—a longer term than many business lenders offer. However, the loan is only available to businesses that have been in operation for two years or more and have at least $400,000 in revenue.

  • Your business must be in operation for two or more years.
  • You must have a minimum annual revenue of at least $400,000.
  • You cannot have a current federal tax lien.
  • You must have a personal credit score of 630 or higher.

Loans of $25,000 to $350,000 may require a lien on assets that you finance with the loan and your business assets. Loans over $350,000 require collateral using your business assets. Or, if your business’ assets are inadequate, you may need to use your personal residence or other property as collateral. 

Best for Low Loan Amounts : Fora Financial

FORA Financial

 FORA Financial

  • Fee: 15 to 40 cents per dollar
  • Loan Amounts: $5,000–$1.4 million
  • Loan Terms: Up to 15 months
Pros & Cons
  • Quick loan disbursements

  • No usage restrictions

  • No collateral required

  • Short repayment terms

  • Confusing rate structure

  • Processing fees apply

Why We Chose It

Business lenders typically lend to established businesses, and they may have loan minimums of $50,000 or more. For smaller businesses, that minimum may be much too high. 

Fora Financial’s loan minimum is just $5,000, so you can borrow only what you need. Fora has less stringent requirements than other lenders and it doesn’t require any collateral; you just need a credit score of 500 or higher, and at least $12,000 per month in revenue. 

Fora Financial’s repayment terms are shorter than other options; the maximum loan term is just 15 months. And Fora Financial’s rate structure can be confusing. Its rates range from 15 to 40 cents per dollar for borrowers, and it also charges a processing fee of 2.5% or more. 

  • You must have a credit score of 500 or higher. 
  • You must have at least $12,000 of monthly revenue.
  • Your business must be in operation for at least six months.
  • You cannot have open bankruptcies.

Best Line of Credit : Amex Business Line of Credit

American Express Logo

American Express

  • Fee: 2.0%–27.0%
  • Loan Amounts: $2,000–$250,000
  • Loan Terms: 6–18 months
Pros & Cons
  • Low monthly revenue requirement

  • Quick loan application and approvals

  • Low credit score requirement

  • Limited to $250,000 or less

  • Potentially high APR

  • Few term options

Why We Chose It

For businesses that want a line of credit, the American Express Business Line of Credit allows you to get up to $250,000 as a revolving line of credit. For the length of the term—which can be 6, 12, or 18 months—you can repeatedly tap into the line of credit to finance your business’ needs. You only pay interest on the amount of money you use each month. 

American Express allows you to apply and get approved within minutes. And it requires a personal credit score of just 640—lower than many other lenders’ requirements. 

Depending on the term you choose, fees can be as high as 27%, with longer terms incurring higher fees.

As a woman business owner, you may benefit from working with your local Women’s Business Center. They provide access to free and low-cost training and resources to women business owners, and can connect you to local lenders and community financing groups. You can use the Women’s Business Center locator tool to find a location near you.

  • Your business must be in operation for at least one year.
  • You must have a personal credit score of 640 or higher.
  • You must have at least $3,000 in monthly revenue.

Best for Young Businesses : Lendio



  • APR: 6.0%–36.0%
  • Loan Amounts: $500–$2 million
  • Loan Terms: 2–25 years
Pros & Cons
  • Works with 75 partner lenders

  • Multiple financing options

  • Long repayment terms

  • Higher credit score requirements

  • Terms and rates vary by lender

  • High APRs may apply

Why We Chose It

Lendio has several financing options, including loans for startups. While other companies require businesses to be in operation for a year or more to qualify for a loan, Lendio’s minimum requirement is just three months. 

Through Lendio, you can borrow up to $750,000 for a young business, and up to $2 million for a more established one. Depending on the type of loan you choose, you could have up to 25 years to repay it. 

Lendio isn’t a lender; instead, it connects borrowers with its network of lending partners to get you the financing you need. Loan terms, rates, and eligibility criteria vary by lender, but you generally need a credit score of 680 and a monthly revenue of $6,000 to qualify for a startup loan. 

  • You must have a credit score of 680 or higher.
  • You must have at least $6,000 in monthly revenue.
  • Your business must be in operation for at least three months.

Best for Instant Funding : OnDeck Line of Credit



  • APR: As low as 29.9%
  • Loan Amounts: $5,000–$250,000
  • Loan Terms: Up to 24 months
Pros & Cons
  • Same-day funding available

  • Loyalty discounts

  • Low minimum credit score required

  • Very high APRs

  • Short repayment terms

  • Not available in all states

Why We Chose It

The application process for most business loans can be extensive, and it can take weeks to get the money you need for your business. But with OnDeck, your loan may be disbursed as soon as the same day you apply. 

With OnDeck’s term loan, same-day funding is available if you’re approved and accept the loan by 10:30 a.m. ET on a business day. If you finish after that time, funds will be deposited within two or three business days. 

OnDeck also has a line of credit with instant funding. If approved, you can access your line of credit within minutes. 

However, OnDeck’s rates and fees may be prohibitive for some. Rates on its term loans start at 29.9%, but according to the company, the average APR for term loans was 62.1% over the half-year period ending in March 2022. There is also an origination fee that can be as high as 4% and a $20 monthly maintenance fee on lines of credit. 

  • Your business must be in operation for at least one year.
  • You must have a credit score of 625 or higher.
  • You must have at least $100,000 in annual revenue.
  • You must have a business bank account.
  • You must not be a resident of Nevada, North Dakota, or South Dakota.

Best for Low APR Line of Credit : Bluevine

  • APR: As low as 6.2%
  • Loan Amounts: Up to $250,000
  • Loan Terms: 6-12 months
Pros & Cons
  • Low APRs available

  • Low credit score requirements

  • Quick access to cash

  • Short terms

  • High revenue requirements

  • Not available in all states

Why We Chose It

Many business loans and lines of credit have APRs well into the double digits. But with Bluevine, you can qualify for a line of credit with rates as low as 6.2%. 

Bluevine requires a minimum credit score of just 625—far lower than other lenders—and it provides access to your money within minutes of approval. 

However, the maximum term available is just 12 months. And though the company has a low credit score minimum, its revenue requirements are much more stringent. To qualify for a line of credit, you must have at least $40,000 in monthly revenue. 

  • Your business must be open for at least 24 months.
  • You must have at least $40,000 in monthly revenue.
  • You must have a credit score of 625 or higher.
  • Residents of Nevada, North Dakota, and South Dakota are ineligible. 

Final Verdict

For women business owners looking for loans to expand or launch their businesses, there are several options available. With an SBA loan from Funding Circle, you can borrow up to $500,000 and have as long as 10 years to repay your loan. 

If you have a newer business, Lendio requires you to be in operation for just three months to qualify for a loan, while Bluevine gives business owners access to lines of credit with relatively low rates. 

Before exploring loans or lines of credit, contact your local SBA office or chamber of commerce to find out about any grant or low-interest loan programs for women business owners in your area. 

Another financing option for small business owners is a business credit card. You can use it as a revolving line of credit for your business needs, and earn rewards like airline miles or cash back on your purchases.

Compare the Best Small Business Loans for Women

 Loan  Fee  Loan Amounts  Loan Terms
Funding Circle
Best for SBA Loans
7.50% $50,000–$500,000 Up to 10 years
Fora Financial
Best for Low Loan Amounts
15 to 40 cents per dollar  $5,000–$1.4 million  Up to 15 months 
American Express
Best Line of Credit
2.0%–27.0%  $2,000–$250,000  6–18 months 
Best for Young Businesses
6.0%–36.0%  $500–$2 million  2–25 years 
Best for Instant Funding
As low as 29.9%  $5,000–$250,000  Up to 24 months 
Best for Low APR Line of Credit
As low as 6.2%  Up to $250,000  6–12 months 

Guide to Choosing the Best Small Business Loans for Women

Types of Small Business Loans for Women

There are three main types of business financing: 

  • Term loans: Term loans give you an upfront sum of cash. You repay the loan with interest over a specific period, such as 24 months. 
  • Lines of credit: Lines of credit are a form of revolving credit. You can use the line of credit repeatedly for your business throughout the term.
  • Invoice factoring: With invoice factoring, a company pays your outstanding invoices upfront, and deducts a fee for their service. It gives you immediate access to the cash you’re owed, and you don’t have to worry about repaying debt for months or years. Fees can be fairly steep, however.

Women-owned businesses employ 10.9 million people and have over $432 billion in annual payroll.

Business Financing Challenges for Women

Women business owners have more challenges accessing financing than men. According to a study from Columbia Business School, businesses led by women are 63% less likely to obtain venture capital funding than those led by men. 

There are several factors behind that problem, including: 

  • There may be similarity bias: Lenders and angel investors tend to lend to people like them in terms of race, gender, education, and background. Male-dominated teams tend to approve other men rather than women. 
  • Investors may not understand the business: According to Crunchbase, women make up just 11% of venture capital investment partners in the U.S. With investment partners being predominantly male, they may not understand the market or business potential of women-focused businesses. 
  • Lack of networks: Women business owners may have fewer personal connections and business networks, making it more difficult to find investors. 

Alternative Financing Options for Women

If you have a business and need funding, consider these alternatives: 

  • SBA government loans: SBA loans are issued by banks or credit unions, but backed by the federal government. SBA loans may have less stringent requirements than other loan types. 
  • Grants: Grants are available to women business owners across the country. You can find grant opportunities at and the Access to Capital Directory for Women Entrepreneurs
  • Invoice factoring: As mentioned above, some lenders will pay your outstanding invoices so you can use that money right away. In exchange, the company deducts a fee from the invoice amount. 

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Where Can Women Get Small Business Loans?

    Small business loans for women are available from banks, credit unions, and other financial institutions. You may also be eligible for low-interest loans from nonprofit organizations or professional associations. 

  • Are There Small Business Loans for Women With Bad Credit?

    Business loans usually require good to excellent credit. However, there are some loans that have lower credit score requirements. For example, SBA loans may be available to those with poor or fair credit.

  • Are There Business Loans Specifically for Women?

    Although there aren’t business loans specifically for women, there are grants and resources that are designed for women business owners. Contact a Women’s Business Center, the American Business Women’s Association, or the National Association for Women Business Owners to find out what resources and funding options are available in your area. 


Investopedia is dedicated to providing consumers with unbiased, comprehensive reviews. To rate business loans, we collected hundreds of data points for nearly 30 lenders, including loan amounts, interest rates, fees, and loan requirements, to ensure that our reviews help users make informed decisions about their banking needs.

Female small business owner working in her leatherwork studio

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Article Sources
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  5. Escalon. "Why Do Female Founders Receive Less Capital Even Though They Deliver Better Results?

  6. Crunchbase. "Inside VC Firms: The Gender Divide."

  7. Boston Consulting Group. "Why Women-Owned Startups Are a Better Bet."